Mid-century Los Angeles. A city sold to the world as 'the white spot of America', a land of sunshine and orange groves, wholesome Midwestern values and Hollywood stars, protected by the world's most famous police force, the Dragnet-era LAPD. Behind this public image lies a hidden world of 'pleasure girls' and crooked cops, ruthless newspaper tycoons, corrupt politicians, and East Coast gangsters on the make. Into this underworld came two men - one L.A.'s most notorious gangster, the other its most famous police chief - each prepared to battle the other for the soul of the city. The Mob had to contend with downtown business (the Chandlers, of LA Times fame), City Hall, and above all the LAPD - and the story is gripping. In these pages you will find the kind of gangsters, cops, pols, and madams familiar from The Big Sleep, Chinatown, and LA Confidential - only this time it's non-fiction, a serious portrait of how the 20th century's most dangerously unaccountable, intrusive model of pre-emptive policing got started. It's a story with great resonance today.